As 2019 comes to an end, it’s time to look ahead and prepare for the trends and challenges Global Mobility managers can expect to face in 2020.
Global Mobility continues to be a melting pot of immigration, labour law, tax, social security, relocation, cultural awareness, security risks and many other disciplines – the levels of complexity continue to grow higher each year and show no signs of stopping. To manage your Global Mobility function in the New Year, it’s vital to understand the upcoming trends and challenges – here’s a few which we think will make it another busy year in the buzzing Global Mobility industry!
Increasing restrictions on Immigration & Banking
While organisations become increasingly global in their mobilisation of employees, jurisdictions across the globe continue to tighten their immigration requirements and demand more careful scrutiny of employees travelling short-term for business. Increasing registration requirements across Europe, in combination with GDPR and the new European Worker’s Directive, has put immense pressure on Global Mobility professionals both within and outside Europe.
In 2019, we also started to see the consequences of money laundering scandals across northern Europe, with banking regulators subsequently demanding more controls over international transactions, which has in turn affected assignees receiving payments to their home country banks from abroad.
For 2020, we only expect to see further demands for control of data across borders. Jurisdictions across the globe will increasingly align immigration and tax information, demand registration of business travellers, protect the local labour market with minimum pay limits and introduce mandatory liabilities and registrations in-country for international workers.
Developing Global Mobility Technologies
Discussions about technology will also be hard to circumvent next year. Whether or not to invest in assignment management technology is still a hot topic for many organisations and we’re seeing an ever-evolving market continuing to develop new IT solutions. There is no doubt that technology can improve efficiency and free up time for Global Mobility professionals to take a deeper dive in understanding the compliance requirements. However, technology is not only about data. It is also about allowing time and space to develop a HR framework, where assignees can have the option of “self-service when they want it and human support when they need it,” in order to achieve the right balance of technological efficacy and human touch.
“Human support” and “employee experience” will become just two of the buzz phrases of 2020, as the whole industry turns its focus on the importance of human interaction when delivering Global Mobility services to an assignee and his or her family. Human interaction is not only about one person (consultant or advisor) delivering a clear message to another person (assignee and/or partner); human interaction is also about an expert teaching, explaining, coaching, counselling, in so many ways guiding their subject to security, whether that be a compliant tax return, a legal work permit or insurance certificate, the right apartment, a good school or a higher level of understanding of their new host country’s culture.
The role of a Global Mobility Manager
Discussions will continue in 2020 about the role of the Global Mobility function and companies will find themselves asking questions like:
- Should Global Mobility be an operational function, focusing on administrative tasks, or should it transform into a business-partnering function?
- Should Global Mobility be empowered to engage actively with the business in the initial stages of the project and contribute to strategic discussions about geographical mobilisation of employees or contractors?
- How can Global Mobility be engaged in project planning to ensure that staff can be mobilised to new regions as and when needed?
Each organisation has different needs and there is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution so these discussions are likely to be localised with many different outcomes.
A key topic next year will revolve around how the Global Mobility function can best serve the business. Many companies will consider if the support they really need for international mobilisation of employees is simply operational i.e. support for a work permit and coordinating the packing of moving boxes or should they be doing more? Are internal departments able to plan and provide the best type of assignment the company, with a benchmarked benefits package and 360-degree compliance on all home and host country liabilities? Or should this be outsourced? With stress and burn-out hitting many organisations, including HR and Global Mobility departments, many will discuss if their time would be better spent using in-house resources for strategic consulting and planning and outsourcing the administration and coordination of low-value tasks to external experts. This debate is set to continue into 2020 and beyond, as employers struggle with the dichotomy of supporting the business’s need for speed against HR obligations to risk management and protecting business ethics.
NES & Global Mobility
We wish all our clients and readers a very Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year and look forward to engaging with you again in 2020.
If you’re looking for support for your Global Mobility function in the New Year, we offer consultancy, policy reviews and benchmarking, compliance audits, vendor management and more to alleviate the mobility burden. To find out more, get in touch with our experts today.
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